The following is from The Trials and Triumphs of Down Syndrome (c) I hope you enjoy it, Happy Easter!!
In the early years of our lives as parents, my wife and I learned at considerable expense; the story of counting beans. Though you may have heard this story under another name, the moral of the story always remains the same, and that is to; stop counting up everything you do and everything your spouse does not do and fighting about all the above.
If you would like a great way (and this is very sarcastic) to start or end your day; have an argument with your spouse about, ‘how he or she is not pitching in enough with the household chores’; this will surely lead to even more constructive conversations like, ‘you need to earn more money’, or my favorite, ‘why do come home from working hard all day long, play with the babies, eat your dinner and go to bed because you’re tired and need some rest?’
As parents, we have multiple roles, all of them were at one time or another choices that each of us made. Choices like; to fall in love, get married, and work hard at our jobs or careers and to start a family and replicate the same through our children. Adding a special need of a child can complicate a relationship beyond belief. Or you can both, let me repeat that, both, make a conscious decision to recognize when you are not holding up your end of the deal, and get busy making things right at home. Nothing, I repeat again, NOTHING, can wreak more havoc in your life than having an unhappy home life, and it takes just as much work from man and woman, mother and father, husband and wife, to work all day at a job or in the home, and keep your spouse happy; by doing little things. So stop counting beans and start communicating; communicating in a productive way, not yelling or not speaking at all, real honest to goodness communication. For example; ‘honey, I realize you have worked hard all day, but I would really appreciate it if you would empty the diaper dumpster before you watch Monday night football.’ Or maybe this, ‘honey, you have worked hard all day tending to the needs of our baby, let me help you by fixing dinner for you when I get home from work.’
Why is it that we work so hard at falling ‘In Love’, but work so very little at, ‘Staying In Love’; and trust me, I know of what I speak and preach. It will take time and effort, but if you really meant what you said when you placed that ring on your spouse’s finger, then you will quit making excuses and get busy making up for lost time.
Answer this question (to yourself, not out loud, your answer may get you in trouble), describe, as a percentage, what you give of yourself and what you expect in return from your spouse in your marriage. If you immediately answer, ’50 – 50’, I beg you to reconsider; if all you are willing to give of yourself is 50%, then I seriously question that you would expect to receive, much less tolerate, the same in return. Everything we do or do not do every day, matters; everything we say or do not say every day, matters. The true test, is can you do this, everyday? It is not enough to want to do, or try to do; life can sometimes be very tough; but you have someone on this earth that thought enough of you to fall in love with you; and you thought enough of each other, to have a child or maybe more than one. So why on earth, would you treat someone that you care for so much, like the diaper dumpster; instead, get your crap straight and take good care of each other. Notice all the way through here, I ask that you take good care of ‘each other’; when things are toughest it is easy to place blame on one person or the other; but the true test of a relationship and the character of each person in that relationship is their ability to make things better by being better themselves.
I constantly remind myself that I must work as hard now at staying ‘in’ Michele’s pants as I did 24 years ago when I was working to get in her pants in the first place. If I haven’t been clear on this up until now; I love Michele, she is my best friend, a beautiful caring woman, mother of my beautiful sons; I would die for her. So it goes without saying that it would kill me to treat her in a manner with any less love and respect than she is due; and she earned this the moment she told me, ‘I love you.’
Please, stop counting beans; or if you insist, try counting different beans; see how many good things you can do without having to be patted on the back for doing them. In the end you either win on you lose; there is so much a stake and winning takes time, hard work, effort, laughter and tears; the reward will last you a lifetime. Losing is much easier; all you have to do is quit.
Love the ones your with!!